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knowing the danger signs

by Patricia Enborg | October 10, 2006

When Doreen Haddad-Drummond’s eldest daughter, Kelly-Anne, was murdered October 5, 2004, the Montreal mother was not only devastated – she felt guilty.

She wondered what she could have done to prevent Kelly-Anne, 24, from being killed by her live-in boyfriend.

Kelly-Anne had been a gifted athlete in university, entering lifesaving competitions even after she had graduated. She was working at a daycare centre before she died.


The family knew him as Marty.

Doreen thought Martin Morin-Cousineau was polite and nice, but he seemed to change jobs frequently.

For Doreen, the first sign of trouble occurred in December of 2002, but she didn’t recognize its significance. Kelly-Anne had asked her mother to call Marty. Doreen was to tell him where to pick Kelly-Anne up. The two would then go to an office party.

Marty became angry that Kelly-Anne didn’t call him directly. The couple fought over the phone. He refused to go to the party. Then later, he showed up.

Kelly-Anne told her mother she blamed herself. She should have been more considerate. Doreen remembers saying, “Well no. I mean he’s got his nerve to even treat you like that.” But Doreen now sees that her daughter was being manipulated.

A year later, Kelly-Anne wanted to watch the Grey Cup football game with friends. Marty didn’t want to join them. According to Doreen, he became very upset, and made threats against her friends. That led to another fight.

Concerned about the threats, Doreen urged her daughter to go to the police and ask if Marty had any past history of violence. Kelly-Anne did so, and was told he had driving citations.

hard lessons

The last time Doreen spoke to Kelly-Anne was the night before her daughter was killed. They discussed Kelly-Anne’s recent trip to Italy – a trip Marty did not want her to take.

Doreen asked how he was. Kelly-Anne said she needed to be more respectful of Marty. Doreen was shocked, “I wanted to say, ‘Like hell you need to be more respectful. You were brought up to know how to respect people and you don’t need to learn that now.’”

The next day, Kelly-Anne was murdered.

Martin Morin-Cousineau stabbed her in the neck with a steak knife. The blow left Kelly-Anne a quadriplegic. She was on life support. The next day, her family made the painful decision to remove her. She died a short time later.

Morin-Cousineau was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

During his trial, he claimed the stabbing was an accident. The jury thought otherwise. Evidence showed he had earlier threatened to kill Kelly-Anne if she went to Italy. According to court documents, the final argument had started as a dispute about rent.

The judge, Claude Champagne, wrote that the circumstances of the crime were extremely violent. The attack came from behind without warning. The judge added Morin-Cousineau had a lot of difficulty in his relationships with women, citing his inability to control his anger toward them.

It turned out that another woman had placed a restraining order against him.

Morin-Cousineau was found guilty and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He’s appealing the verdict.

Doreen and her family were relieved the traumatic court case was over, but she was left with the feeling she should have done more for Kelly-Anne.

“I just wish I knew more. And I guess it’s that part of the guilt that will stay with me for a while, maybe forever, I don’t know. But I feel now, I can take what happened to Kelly-Anne and put it into a purpose, to help somebody else. Maybe other lives can be saved.”

She now gives speeches, telling others what she has learned about violence against women – what signs to look for, how to find help – things she wasn’t able to tell her own daughter.

what women need to know

Here’s what Doreen wants to share with women in potentially dangerous relationships:

  • Many men will hit once, then apologize, so the woman won’t press charges. But then they hit again, and abuse their partner. They verbally threaten to throw women out on the street when they have no job, no money, no security. These men also want to control women’s lives through isolation from family and friends.
  • Many women live in silence, hoping their relationship will improve. They see it as a sign of failure if they ask for help … Don’t wait!
  • Go to a neighbour, to a woman’s shelter, or to the police. There is always a way out. Someone will help.
  • Get help as soon as possible. He will not change or leave.
  • If there is money involved, don’t wait to be paid back. Your life is worth more than money.
  • Early in the relationship, if you suspect he may have a criminal background, visit your local courthouse and ask whether he has a record. Insist they check the database.

Doreen has set up a local chapter of an organization called the Murdered or Missing Persons’ Families’ Association (MMPFA). It’s a non-profit group that works on behalf of families whose loved ones have either been murdered or are missing. It helps them deal with the police and the justice system and offers psychological support.

She is doing what she can so other young women will think of Kelly-Anne and consider leaving a violent and potentially dangerous, relationship. “I hope so because life is beautiful and we can have a wonderful life. I have everything I need ... except I don’t have my daughter.”

This feature was first published on's predecessor site CoolWomen.


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